Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel may request $20 billion in additional American military assistance in an interview published by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
Barak said that the uprisings across the Middle East against authoritarian Arab leaders were “a historic earthquake…a movement in the right direction, quite inspired.” The former Israeli prime minister added that the movements represent “a movement of the Arab societies toward modernity.”
Barak also expressed concern that Iran and Syria, traditional enemies of Israel, “might be the last to feel the heat.”
“The issue of qualitative military edge for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you,” Barak said. “It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so….A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel is believed to spend approximately $17 billion per year on its military, roughly $3 billion of which currently comes from the United States.
Barak said in the interview that he believes Egypt will continue to abide by the country’s peace treaty with Israel “for the time being.”